Reading Imre Kertész’ diary from years 1961–91, Gályanapló, I wonder his notes that I pay attention to, that I see. It seems like they belong to two groups. Majority of them strengthen my own thoughts, and many are connected to art making and humanity, like (my translation) Art is the most natural of all the unnatural human activities. It is quite characteristic of a creature, that nature has created such, that nature is not enough for it. The other group of notes I pay attention to differs from the most by referring to concrete everyday acts, that are not described frequently in the book: I went to buy a paper. I just had to go to the other side of the street, and because I knew that I’d come back in a minute, I put the power cord of the coffee maker to the socket. And what happened: I came back home. How could I be so sure about it?

How could I see the other kind of notes, that are strange to my thoughts and current situation? Do I have to read every word and sentence twice, trying to illuminate them from different angles? Maybe. In order to see a strange, odd thought, to grasp it, it must be familiar and strange at the same time, it must be familiar in a strange way, so that I pay attention to the familiar, while the strange thing breaks my accustomed trail of thought.

All the same, Gályanapló belongs to books that I probably read again. Time will change it changing me and my surroundings. I’ll read it again in a few years. Yes, that I’ll do.

Photo: Paul De Cloedt (No I Be Yonder)